This month, Monarch Theater NYC has the pleasure of providing a
cold read of Guillem Clua’s Promised Land, translated by Marion Peter Holt and directed by Melanie Sutherland. This cold read will help prepare the team for their upcoming reading of Promised Land, which will take place as part of the PEN World Voices Festival at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center in April.
by Guillem Clua
translated by Marion Peter Holt
Promised Land is a farce on the subject of climate change and the inefficiency of international organizations to stop its terrible consequences. The play is set in the future at the United Nations headquarters in New York City and tells the story of the president and the diplomatic delegation of a fictitious country, Malvati, that is about to sink under the sea. Comedy, melodrama, political intrigue and mythology intertwine to make Promised Land one of Guillem Clua’s more reality-aware plays but also one of his funniest. Although an array of characters appear in the play, the script requires only four actors. Clua has given the roles of the mythological Malvati, one self-satified UN official, and some twenty-five delegates from different countries to a single actor. It can only be called an actor’s tour-de-force.
Although Guillem Clua is one of the most promising voices in a new generation of Catalan playwrights born in the 1970s, he was still considered marginal in his native Barcelona until the critically-acclaimed production of his epic play Marburg at the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya in 2010. The following year his taut and chilling chamber musical Killer, with a score by Xavier Mestres, became a resounding success in Barcelona and has since been staged abroad. In 2012 he completed Promised Land, in which he combines comedy, pungent political satire, and mythology to create a provocative play about the consequences of climate change. His irresistible gay comedy Smiley: A Love Story opened in November 2012 at Barcelona’s fringe Sala FlyHard—a tiny theatre that has become the proving ground for innovative plays by leading young Catalan playwrights. The sell-out and critically-praised production later moved to the Teatre Lliure for an addional month, and is currently enjoying a run at a commercial theatre on the Ramblas. In March 2013 another new play, Invasion, opened in Madrid. Clua is best known abroad for his earlier disturbing political drama Skin in Flames, which has had five productions to date in the United States.
Marion Peter Holt
Marion Peter Holt is a writer and a translator of contemporary Catalan and Spanish theatre. His translations of plays by Buero-Vallejo, López Rubio, Skármeta, and other dramatists have been staged in New York and London, and by regional and university theatres throughout the United States, including Baltimore’s Center Stage, the Wilma Theatre, Chicago’s Bailiwick Repertory, the Atlanta Alliance Theatre, the San Jose Repertory Company, and the San Diego Repertory. In June, 2010, his translation of Sergi Belbel’s Blood had its Australian premiere at TheatreWorks-Melbourne. His most recent translations are Guillem Clua’s acclaimed Marburg, which is featured in the spring 2011 issue of TheatreForum, and Clua’s provocative farce on climate change, Promised Land. He is an emeritus professor of Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center and has been a visiting lecturer at the Yale School of Drama, Hunter College, and Barcelona’s Institut del Teatre. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild.